Every Wednesday: I never fail to be disgusted with advice columns. I am in awe of what passes for “counsel” these days. The columnists seem to get rewarded for giving you bad advice. I think that people, especially men, get terrible advice from them. I don’t blame anyone that calls advice column responses garbage. I use my postings to correct these responses and help society by being an utmost asshole, (as always, a hat tip to Aaron Clarey at Asshole Consulting).
Consider this piece from Slate’s Dear Prudence from October 26, 2020:
I’m a father of two. I work and I’m in a Ph.D. program, but my wife is making it difficult. She’s a fantastic person, but she’s a busy-on-purpose type and absolutely refuses to give me time to finish my dissertation. For example, she makes elaborate meals and gets too exhausted to clean up. She takes a full-on bath with the kids every single night. She plans extravagant weekend activities like planting raspberry bushes, but then gets overwhelmed and needs help. Our baby’s first birthday party went from “lunch and cake with grandma” to an all-day griddle party with pot stickers, pancakes, and all of her siblings plus their partners.
I have splitting headaches several times a week because I end up working late into the night after dealing with her time vampirism all day. I’ve tried to talk to her, but she gets really upset because she’s doing it for the kids. The kids are really happy, but it’s just too much. I offered to drop out because I’m making great money, but she hated that idea. I feel like I have no choice but to quit school against her wishes or file for divorce. I think I’m only asking because I’m afraid those really are the only options, but … do you have any ideas?
—— Selfishly generous——
Selfishly Generous, I am going to war for your soul. Although you are a hardworking man, you fell asleep at the proverbial wheel and failed to do something early on in the game; creating healthy boundaries. I would gamble to think that you are currently failing at it also.
You didn’t put enough weight on the words that you use when speaking with your wife. She doesn’t think it is enough of a problem. I strongly doubt that she can understand what is wrong with her behavior.
Instead of divorcing her because of your mismanagement, have her get busy with the little things that can support your PhD candidacy. She apparently supports the idea of you getting your PhD. Give her a list of things that you need to be successful that she can do to help you. Ask her to support your mission.
I am also going to give you some advice that isn’t “lovey dovey”. You should consider finding somewhere else to work. Your move will speak louder than words. It will separate your work from the family and your wife.
One of the last things that bothered me was that you didn’t attach actions to the boundaries that you should have made verbal. You should make your own meals when your wife is encroaching on your schedule. You need to walk out on a party that eats up more time than you can allot. I would blatantly tell people that your time was scheduled to begin with. You don’t need to sacrifice your health, get your sleep. Schedule your sleep, hell schedule everything. Type and print out your schedule, then deliver it to your assistant, (oops! Your wife).
You can lick this as soon as you make boundaries and stop being passive aggressive. Make your needs known. Put punishments to transgressions. You have to think of yourself first before you think of others in this situation.
Think of when you look in the mirror, readying yourself to walk across the stage, calling yourself by a new title.
I don’t imagine that I will have a shortage of emails to answer. I would love to start doing this for anyone that sends me an email. If this is you; email us at email@example.com
If you hate advice columns, I don’t blame you. If it isn’t soft people giving advice; it is someone trying to justify acting like an asshole. ‘Till next week.